Michigan, Michigan State at Top of Early Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings


michigan wolverines

Early December polls and rankings are to be taken with a grain of salt, but we do know this about the Big Ten- “the Michigans” currently rule the roost. College hoops is a sport as synonymous with gambling as any you will find anywhere in the entire world. Wagering on college basketball at this time of year can be like real money online pokies, there is a ton of luck and chance involved. However, if you want a blue chip then #GoBlue, as the Michigan Wolverines have consistently shown a capability to beat the spread by by a comfortable margin.

They are the clear number one in the Big Ten with arch-rival Michigan State a solid #2 in the league. Next to each team name below you’ll find the following numerical values: overall record, conference record, AP ranking (when applicable) Sagarin rating and kenpom rating.


1. Michigan Wolverines (9-0, 2-0, #5, #2, #4)

They look as legitimate as anybody right now as they entered the down to the wire contest at Northwestern having beaten every prior opponent by at least 17, with three of those coming over ranked foes. The narrow margin win in Evanston was not something that casinos like sagamblingsites.co.za saw coming at all however. That’s because UM slaughtered reigning champions Villanova by 27 on the road in the Gavitt Games/rematch of last year’s title game.

UM also thrashed North Carolina by 17 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, then Purdue by 19 in the conference season opener. When NU coach Chris Collins said “what some of you believe is the best team in the country” during his postgame news conference this week, he was spot on.

2. Michigan State (7-2, 2-0, #10 #4, #9)

Typical MSU team in which you’ll see Jekyll and Hyde single game showings as the season progresses, with the assumption that they’ll come correct for sure when it matters most in March. Although you can’t bank on that anymore after three straight first weekend NCAA Tournament flame-outs.

What you can bank on is the tremendous leadership of point guard Cassius Winston, a talented playmaker who got into Harvard. Go here for more on him.


3. Wisconsin (8-1, 2-0, #13, #15, #12)

You knew that eventually Greg Gard would get the program going again. Bo Ryan’s hand-picked successor has the Badgers playing in accordance to their program identity again, and identity is something that is huge in college sports.

4. Ohio State (8-1, 2-0, #19 #13, #20)

Last night’s game in front of friends and family at the United Center (they claim an audience of 5,285 but yeah, ok, whatever man) further conveyed just how farther along OSU are than Illinois in their so-called “rebuilds.”

5. Purdue (5-3, 0-1, #16, #14)

Have had some major issues offensively the last two games, shooting just 39% and averaging 64.5 ppg. Consider the source of their struggles though as they just played two defenses ranked in the top 13 nationally. Michigan is tops, the Florida State Seminoles are 13.


6. Indiana (7-2, 2-0, #17, #23)

Romeo Langford is looking more and more one-and-doney, but then again we kind of knew that coming in. Nevertheless, it’s a good problem to have, and a great sign for the program. If Archie Miller is to win anything with him, it needs to be this season.

7. Nebraska (7-2, 1-1, #24 #14, #24)

Not totally sold yet, but have no issues with their body of work so far. Tim Miles is off to a solid start this season.

8. Maryland (7-1, 0-1, #23, #40, #30)

Another pleasant surprise as Turtle Power is a good mix of veteran and rookie heroes on the half shell.

9. Northwestern (6-3, 0-2, #46, #47)

The Cats came awfully close to pulling out  big upset win Tuesday night that would have a.) given the new arena its first huge moment and b.) make people think the current Northwestern team resembles the 2016-17 edition more than the 2017-18 edition. As it stands, the Cats are just what we thought they would be in October- way better than last year, not as good as two years ago.

Still, if both of those Ryan Taylor buzzer beaters had gone in, then you’re looking at a 8-1, 2-0 team. But, like Homer J. Simpson said, “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, who does that rest of that go?”

10. Iowa (6-2, 0-2, #18, #51, #43)

Uhm, should this team really be nationally ranked? Well, after the showing at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center this week they certainly won’t be for long.

richard pitino minnesota

11. Minnesota (7-2, 1-1, #52, #52)

Pitino the Younger continues to be overpaid and and over-hyped

12. Penn State (4-4, 0-2, #58, #39)

There’s no excuse for drawing so poor when Indiana, one of the league’s biggest brand name programs comes to town. Yes, apathy for PSU men’s basketball is a tale as old as time, but if you would have had a better crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center, who knows what would have happened against the Hoosiers. In a game that tight, the crowd might have made a difference on a play or two here or there.

rutgers dance team

12. Rutgers (5-3, 0-2, #66, #99)

They have been better than we thought they’d be and Steve Pikiell might indeed be the guy to get them going in the right direction eventually, but we’re not sold yet.

However, here’s a piece we did talking to the guys about the legalization of sports gambling in New Jersey, and its effect on Atlantic City.

14. Illinois (2-7, 0-2, #96, #105)

No brainer basement pick as the record speaks for itself. Typically, most power five conference teams are well over .600 or .700 in winning percentage around this time of year. The Illini are an extreme aberration, having a lot of work to do to even reach .500 right now. At times, it looks like these guys don’t quite understand Brad Underwood’s offense fully.

On the other end of the floor, we’ve seen plenty of stretches with optional defending.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation. 

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Lineups.com and Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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